Breaking News

Timothy is walking!! Q: So, Timothy, this is big news. How do you feel?

T: Uh, okay, a little wobbly.
Q: What is your favorite part of traveling by foot?

T: Hmmm, so many things but I guess I would have to say that I have found there is lots more to get into. Also, I feel slightly superior to Wil now who has intimidated me up to this point.

Q: Right, right. But I do hear rumors that he is getting a little more motivated.
T: That's true. Mom and dad tell me that seeing me walk is encouraging him to try it out too. So my strategy is when I think he is getting too cocky I drop and crawl again. I don't think he is buying it though.
Q: So, inquiring minds want to know. . . what took you so long to get on your feet and walk?
T: Oh, that's easy. I like being carried. Love it actually. And mom was really good at it. Did you know that she and dad can carry me on one hip and Wil on the other at the same time? That's fun. And I really really like being at grown-up level. So chances are you will still find me in my parents arms a lot. I plan to protest if they don't oblige.

Q: Well, T, you seem to know what you like. Can I ask you one more question?

T.:Uh, no. I'm done with you. I am going to relax and read a little now.

Q: Come on, one more quick question?

T: Ugh! Seriously? No, I am done. Go talk to Wil.

Q: Fine. Wil, What do you think of Timothy's new skill?

Advocacy

When Wil was born a lot changed in the life of our family. I have posted about many of those changes over the last year. One thing that his presence immediately did was propel James and me into becoming advocates for Wil. Now this is certainly true for all our kids - we are advocates for Luke and Timothy too. It is different with Wil though. We will have to speak up for him in ways that we will not have to speak up for Luke and Timothy. We have to know the medical system and be on top of his health care and his services. We have had to push for services that are due him. Being an advocate for Wil alone is one thing. Being an advocate for Down syndrome in general is another. I do consider myself an advocate for Down syndrome though I have publicly done little on this front. I often wonder as Wil gets older where I will use my voice.

Tom over at Narrow Ridge wrote about this on 1.25.08 and posted a great video showing what one mom is doing. Very inspiring. Check it out.

Teaching and Learning

Luke really changed when he turned five. For some reason that is the arbitrary age he selected as the one to reach. When you turn five you are officially a big boy and should no longer be referred to in language that remotely resembles anything cutesy. I think I mentioned at the time of his birthday that he began calling me Mom, instead of Mommy, and James Dad, instead of daddy, and my mother Non, instead of Nonnie. He decided that Papa wasn't too babyish for some reason though he did toy around with Pa - guess he didn't like the way it sounded. We also are corrected if we refer to him as "cute," whether it be in reference to a new haircut or the way he looks in his new sweater and winter cap. "You mean handsome," he says with that half question, half command inflection in his voice.

His role as big brother has also changed since he turned five. He seems to be taking it very seriously. He now wants to take part in feeding and watching out for his two younger brothers. And as of late he is enjoying a new role - educator. Not long ago, after feeding Wil and T, I found Luke pivoting from one to the other telling them all about Adam and Eve while holding up a cutesy, I mean handsome, picture of the duo he colored in Sunday School.
I was very impressed with his re-telling. It went something like this. . ."and first God made Adam from the dirt then he wanted him to have a girlfriend so he took one of Adam's bones, I don't know which one but I am sure it was a bone, and made Eve out of that bone. Can you believe that? And that is how Adam and Eve were born. But actually they weren't really born, they were made." (I think I am seeing my gift, or is it a curse, of over explaining emerge in Luke)

Later he took delight in teaching Wil all about the world of PBSkids.com
And most impressive to Wil, who has a thing for monkey's, was Curious George. He could be heard cackling all over the house as George got into all sorts of mischief at the hands of Luke.

Timothy is doing some learning of his own.
Like trying to figure out the noise coming from the dishwasher while thoroughly enjoying the sensation against his cheek.

And can it be?

Is Timothy walking?

Well, not quite, but he is getting there!

Snowfall

Last Wednesday night we had our first snowfall of the year. Luke asks me at least twice a week when it will snow. He does not quite understand yet that we live a little south of regular snowfall. So when James saw the snow drifting to the ground at 11 pm we decided to wake Luke up to take a look. We knew it wouldn't be on the ground in the morning and with the crazy fluctuating temperatures this may be our only glimpse of the powdery white stuff this winter. Luke and dad watching the snowflakes sprinkle the ground.
We got a light dusting before it turned to sleet. It was nice. There is something so peaceful and pure about a light snow fall. The neighborhood was quiet. The street lamps gave off the only light which provided a soft yellow glow behind the airy flakes as they fell. For those few moments on the porch it felt like time paused. Luke was even quiet as he took in his first glimpse of this stuff he has been craving.



Luke stayed up a little longer to enjoy the beauty of it. One of the things I love about Luke is that he really likes to experience life. He appreciates good ambiance and really drinks in beautiful sites. When we have a fire he wants to turn all the lights off and relax on the sofa. When he observes a pretty sunset he almost always comments on it. He even appreciated our dreary rainy day this week declaring, "This is a good rainy day isn't it mom? I like all the dark clouds."

Bye bye Sears

I love to mow the grass. I love to go through closets and clear them of unnecessary clutter and clothes that are no longer worn. I love to paint the walls and maintain an organized pantry. These things are very satisfying to me. There is instant gratification. You can see the before and after and enjoy it for a little while. It also gives me some sense of control in my life, false as it may be.

There is, however, one household chore that does not bring me the same satisfaction. Doing laundry. I don't like any aspect of it; washing, drying, ironing, folding - I find the whole process loathsome. Part of the reason for this is because it is absolutely never ending. Literally, as soon as I think I have caught up someone is shedding more dirty clothes or throwing a soiled towel in the hamper or coming in from a sweaty run or bike ride. I'm sure you all can identify.

I really started to feel the increase in loads with boy number two. When I became pregnant with boy number three I knew something needed to change. The washer and dryer that we had was approaching 14 years of age and had a pretty small barrel. I got it when I was fresh out of college and living on my own - single, pursuing a career, and doing small amounts of laundry. Now with a growing family it was time to get machines with a larger barrel and get this constant clothes washing problem under control. So 18 months ago, just before Timothy was born, we purchased this handsome duo from Sears.

A Kenmore front load washer and dryer - which, by the way, I have recently learned is made by whirlpool. Two weeks after they were delivered the washer conked out due to a bad mother board. It was quickly replaced and we have had no problems since. We have enjoyed all the things the sales person promised. Larger loads, energy efficient, faster drying time, and more.

Until now. After hearing some suspicious noises we contacted the appliance folks at Sears. They came out, reminded us we are no longer under warranty, then delivered the bad news. The washer is ca put - will cost more to repair than to buy a new one. The dryer, while still functioning fine, has worn down rollers in the front. We can replace them for a good chunk of change but they will likely wear down again in another 12-18 months leaving us with the same irritating noise.

The promises of unending laundering happiness were short lived. So while I had 18 months of greater satisfaction in the laundry department it is nothing compared to the dissatisfaction of knowing that we essentially threw a good deal of money down the drain. And you know what else? The laundry pile was still never ending.

I wonder about my old top load washer and dryer. We gave them to a college graduate setting out to begin his new life and career. I bet they are still going strong for him. I hope so.

(I did speak with Sears in a vain attempt to get a replacement or even some degree of refund. They are sorry for any inconvienence this has caused us and are sorry we didn't buy their very expensive extended warranty. But thanked us for shopping with Sears.)

Caught!!

Somebody got caught in the "cookie" jar!

Mmmmm. Salty pretzels, yum!

Gasp! What? What? This isn't okay?


Okay, I will put them away.


No hard feelings right mom? Please let me stay on the table, I really like it up here.

Ten Minutes in the Life of Wil and T

Much of my day is spent keeping Wil and Timothy out of trouble - from harming themselves, each other, the walls, the furniture, and sometimes me. I grabbed my camera and followed them for 10 minutes yesterday. Here is what unfolded.


First Timothy got stuck in our "Big Daddy" rocker, which he has done numerous times. Really, I have lost count and he just keeps getting himself back in the same predicament. As he gets thicker around the middle it is getting harder to get the little bugger out.


Timothy then made his way to the front room where Wil was drinking his Milk on the sofa - in peace - and then strong armed him out of it.



After giving up his milk Wil happily moved on to climb on the nearest chair. His leg is kicked back because he is trying to rock the chair - a new trick. I'm certain he will manage to tip the chair and himself over in the weeks to come. And then we will have blood and more broken furniture.


While Wil was working on tipping over my grandmother's Victorian chair which I recently recovered T went on to remove all the pillows from the sofa. Something both he and Wil do at least a dozen times a day. I know, I should just get rid of the pillows!

Timothy polished off what was left of his milk before spotting his favorite trouble-maker activity.


The Stairs! He and Wil have both learned how to remove the gate so we have a new challenge before us. Just so you don't get the impression Wil is sitting back like an angel you should know that he is poised and ready to scoot up the stairs as soon as I get out of the way. Which I don't. So he screams his new "mad" scream.


After securing the gate I stop to explain to Luke - again - why it is not good for his 45 pound body to be stretched out on the bookshelves.

And while doing that for, oh. . . 30 seconds - T and Wil head for the kitchen.

T goes from floor to chair to table in seconds. Wil is usually first on the table but when he lands in an arm chair he loves to sit back like a big boy. So today he just watches T at work.

At this point I must put down the camera before everything on the table hits the floor. Which would cause me to weep because I just cleaned the floor. Not that it matters. Lunch is around the corner and usually some portion of the meal hits the floor.


So if you need some exercise please stop by. These guys will keep you on the run. And at 28 pounds each you will get some strength training in too!

Reflections and Hopes

As 2007 comes to an end I have been reflecting a bit. I have found myself smiling, shaking my head, laughing, feeling sad, feeling relieved, smiling some more, and giving thanks. Here are just a few things 2007 brought for our family:

1. Two days into 07 we had three offers on our house in Florida. By mid-February we had closed on the house and successfully moved our family of five to SC to begin the ups and downs of planting a church.

2. Wil got rotovirus five consecutive times - each lasting 10-14 days w/ a 2 week break between each round. We were beginning to think he was allergic to SC. Thanks to a new vitamin and probiotics he does not get it with near the intensity.

3. We went through approximately 1750 diapers (please forgive us earth) and that doesn't consider the increase in diaper use during a bout of rotovirus. ay yi yi!

4. Luke discovered his love of art. He can be found drawing buildings, dogs, giraffes (my personal favorite), people of all shapes and sizes, and all sorts of outdoors scenes. I think I will commission him to do something to fill up the blank wall space in our living room.

5. Timothy maintained his "mama's boy" status. Must be a third child thing. He is going to be my loyal son.

6. Wil began standing independently and has taken occasional steps.

7. James worked harder than I have ever seen him work as he dug into ministry here in SC. After months of developing relationships, meeting with people, working out logistics, and so much more in between, our church launched weekly services in the Fall of 2007.

8. Wil got glasses. Now he sees. :)

9. Timothy can walk, we just know it. But he won't do it. He really loves his brother so crawling remains his preferred method of getting from point A to point B.

10. My migraines reached epic proportion and intensity which led me to a good doctor who is trying hard to help me out. In the process he has discovered that I am "severely" B12 deficient. Come to find out this is most common in old women and vegetarians. I feel like the former and will never be the latter. I am now getting shots for B12 and am feeling more youthful once again.

11. James has taken up cycling in addition to his distance running. I see triathlons on the horizon.

12. We moved just 10 minutes from my parents. They have been a real blessing to us.

13. Luke survived his first big injury. An accident that required three staples in his head - he was a trooper!

14. We have had many bumps in our transition to SC this year but we have also seen God's fingerprint's all over it. And so we have confidence that we are right where He wants us.

I am not one to make resolutions. I don't ever keep them but I do have some hopes for 2008 as we look forward to a few things for our family.

1. Wil transitions out of the early intervention program and into the school system when he turns three at the end of March. I hope I handle this okay, I'm not ready for him to go to school.

2. Luke will be going to kindergarten next year. He has been asking to go to kindergarten since he was three so this will be a big ole' year for him and I do hope it is all he hopes it will be.

3. I look forward to seeing Timothy gain a bit more independence and I look forward to having some one on one time with him while Luke is in preschool and Wil is in his new class come April.

4. I hope to see our church grow - not just in numbers but in depth - as we continue to reach out to the community around us.

5. I hope to regain a few brain cells as the boys get a little older.

6. I hope to start cooking again. (is someone snickering over my shoulder?)

7. I hope to use the gym membership that we are paying for now that my two month long hacking cough has subsided. Okay, so this is starting to sound a little resolution-y.

8. I look forward to watching the boys grow in their relationships with each other. We have really enjoyed this over the last few months and I can't wait to see what they get into together this year.

9. And I hope for fewer accidents and hospital stays along the way!
10. Lastly, I look forward to another year with my fabulous, patient, and longsuffering husband. He's pretty great.

Happy 2008 from the Walden's, who also hope they have it together next year so they can send out proper Holiday cards - and who are also incapable of taking a picture with everyone happy and looking at the camera. :)

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